Fri Sep 25 17:09:10 PDT 2015

Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management by Johanna Rothman and Esther Derby

Behind Closed Doors
(Behind Closed Doors)
 

I bought this book after listening to an interview with Johanna Rothman in a podcast. My overall conclusion having read the book is that - although it is interesting - it does not address any of the problems that I see in software management. I am unsure where this 'miss' lies. Perhaps I failed to approach the book with an open enough mind to pick up on its critical insights or understand how the portrayed examples applied to my own challenges. I was suspicious of the superficial treatment given to the characters (the book portrays a star performer manager through his interactions with his team) and I was suspicious of the short term-ism in the depicted solutions, be they agile or otherwise. Long term planning and career development are not addressed by the book - the approach is immediate and oriented toward quick fixes for troubled (fictional?) teams. The lack of strategy worried me throughout. The essential problem in my value extraction from the book lay in three areas: the issues that the fictional characters encounter are not particularly serious - technology choices, no hiring, no firing, no restructuring nor acquisitions; the book is light on its portrayal of technology - addressing this would have helped build credibility in its anecdotes; and the checklists and forms included are also light and not particularly new.

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